WESTFIELD, NJ — In a pre-recorded ceremony available remotely on Tuesday night, the Fall 2019 production of “Radium Girls” at Westfield High School was awarded three “Foxy” Theatre Night Awards by the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University.
Westfield High School junior Sophie Tananbaum was presented with two Foxy awards for her portrayal of Grace Fryer — Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress in a Drama and Overall Outstanding Performance of a High School Actress. The play was also recognized with an award for Outstanding Production of a Drama.
The WHS production of “Radium Girls” had received eight Foxy award nominations for acting, design and production. The awards recognize excellence in acting, direction, design and production in straight plays in middle and high schools throughout New Jersey.
“I was surprised to win. But to put everything into a role and be validated and recognized is very humbling and a great feeling. I’m honored and happy that they chose me,” said Tananbaum.
Despite the wins, Tanabaum had some regrets about the awards ceremony being moved online.
“I was fortunate enough to go last year,” Tananbaum said. “There’s a great energy in the room, and everyone is supporting their friends, their shows, and other schools. It’s a little sad that it didn’t happen in person, because it’s such a supportive community. But I feel grateful that they did it at all.”
The awards were announced remotely by stage and screen actors including Rob McClure, who most recently starred in the Broadway production of “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Tananbaum’s award was presented by actress Amy Aquino.
Looking back on her performance, Tananbaum commented on the elements she believes brought the production of “Radium Girls” this recognition.
“Because Grace Fryer was a real person, I felt I had to honor her and do her story justice,” she said. “That added an element of genuineness and weight to my performance, and hopefully the audience felt that. This play is great because you’re able to see both sides of the story. You see the girls and their suffering, but you also get to see the president of the company and his personal struggle with what’s happening. It’s a complicated play in the sense that there is no clear cut ‘villain.’ Portraying real people who have complicated stories and feelings allowed all of us to become better actors.”
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